Virtual victory? It still counts for Cuyahoga Falls boys swimming

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Because of the pandemic, virtual meets are becoming the norm for area high school swimming and diving teams.

The Cuyahoga Falls boys team had two of them last week. First, on Jan. 13, the Black Tigers earned their first victory of the season by defeating Suburban League crossover rival Barberton 68-46. Then, on Jan. 15, they lost 130-13 to National Conference rival Hudson.

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Cuyahoga Falls is now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the National Conference.

“The meet against Barberton was our team’s first opportunity to get up and race in our home pool in an official meet this season,” Cuyahoga Falls head coach Will Turnbull said. “This is a challenging year for us because all our home meets have to be swum virtually, so the biggest thing we were focused on was making it a fun meet and creating our own energy on the pool deck.

“The boys did an excellent job of supporting each other. This should’ve been a competitive meet for us, so even though we weren’t racing right next to the Barberton swimmers in person, the boys did an excellent job of racing as if they were right there.

“We are moving to the American Conference next year, so we are excited to get used to racing some new teams next year, including Barberton.”

Sophomore Lucas Ulbricht won both the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2 minutes, 20.37 seconds and the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:11.16.

“Lucas’s 200 freestyle was a good training event for his 100 freestyle,” said Turnbull. “His backstroke continues to improve every day with focus on his technique and underwater dolphin kicks.”

Cristian Gonzalez, Ulbricht’s classmate, captured both the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:14.77 and the 500 freestyle with a clocking of 6:11.04.

“Cristian dropped two seconds in the 100 butterfly and had a really good race in the 500 freestyle,” Turnbull said. “He is a true team player.”

Freshman Ryan Argilan won both the 50 freestyle with a time of 35.87 and the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:14.57. Junior Nathan Lowe won both the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:31.7 and the 200 individual medley with a clocking of 2:48.91.

“Ryan had a great meet in the sprint events,” said the coach. “He continues to improve with his race strategy. We just need to work on execution now. Nathan is finding his groove in the pool every time he races. He is doing a great job.”

Ulbricht, Lowe, Gonzalez and Argilan teamed to capture the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:18.98. The same four boys combined to win the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 4:27.28.

In the loss to Hudson, Turnbull used the meet as an opportunity for his swimmers to compete in some events they do not typically get the chance to.

“There were a lot of first-time swims for our all our athletes,” he said. “Sometimes taking a break from your normal events and training some off events can be good for you.”

Ulbricht finished third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 6:27.61. Lowe finished fourth with a time of 6:49.08.

Gonzalez finished third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:14.22. He placed fourth in the 200 freestyle, clocking in at 2:13.7.

Lowe placed fourth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.78.

The Black Tigers are scheduled to oppose National Conference rival Nordonia virtually Jan. 26 at 3:45 p.m. before concluding the regular season at conference foe Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m.